Bonding over a “community cat”


inter-racial harmony

Bonding over a ‘community cat’

Letter from Dr Tan Chek Wee

FIVE YEARS ago, when I moved into my block of Housing and Development Board flats, I noticed a tri-coloured cat at the void deck.

She was easily placed into a carrier and taken to the vet for sterilisation.

She was then returned to the void deck bearing a surgical cut on her left ear, a symbol of her neutered status.

Ginger (picture) — as she was affectionately called — became a mascot of the block and is cared for by several families.

One day last week, a Jewish neighbour told me that Mr Ali, a Malay resident on the third storey, was concerned that he had not seen Ginger for the past few weeks.

I went to his flat and we chatted about Ginger and cat-related things. Most importantly, a friendship was forged.

I then went to the second storey and knocked on the door of a Chinese family whom I knew was very fond of Ginger too.

Sure enough, the cat was safe and sound in the flat.

I walked up to convey the good news to Mr Ali who said he would pay a visit to the Chinese family to see our “block cat?.

I then took a lift to the 11th storey to inform the Jewish lady.

It is time for Town Councils to stop automatically? assigning “cat nuisance? to any feedback about cats.

What Ginger does to bring about inter-racial harmony and neighbourliness is akin to what some community events can achieve.

That is why cats like Ginger are aptly called “Community Cats?.


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0 responses to “Bonding over a “community cat”

  1.,,,This is how people really make friends … Letter from Raymond Lee Swee Mun 05:55 AM Feb 18, 2010I REFER to “Bonding over a ‘community cat’ ” (Feb 17). The community cats at our Housing and Development Board block in Sengkang have also worked the same magic in creating friendship among some Malay and Chinese families. My family has been feeding them from about three years ago. (Of course, we clean up thereafter.)Along the way, we got to know a Malay couple who were also taking care of them. We named the cats together and conducted joint sterilisation exercises. One day, a Chinese woman, unaware of what we were doing, thought we were rounding the cats up for culling and scolded us. But after she realised what we were doing, we became friends.Another time, while taking one of the cats to the vet, a few Malay women and their children came to talk to us because they were concerned for the animal. They were relieved to hear that we were not sending the cat to be culled. Again, we made friends.Now all of us are pretty close, but our friendships have expanded beyond the mutual goal of caring for our community cats. We go to each other’s homes during festivals and once, to one of their sons’ wedding. Of late, a young Chinese boy has asked to join in our activities. His China national mother has given him the go-ahead because she thinks the boy will learn how to care and love small animals.Once, an Indian national initiated conversation with us saying that he wanted to befriend us because he thinks we are a bunch of good people. I hope the town councils and any related government bodies take note of what is happening on the ground – community cats do help people make friends with those from another race. My “new” friendships would never have happened if not for our cats.

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